English Harbour is a small Newfoundland outport on the northern shore of Trinity Bay. It was settled as early as the 1600's, and at its height in the 1800's may have had a population of up to 1000.

The first Methodist missionaries to visit English Harbour did so in the 1810's, when a missionary was stationed nearby in Trinity... from this point forward the population of English Harbour was roughly split 50-50 between the Methodist and Anglican faiths.

The first Methodist preacher to visit nearby Trinity was John Hopkins, in 1780, who encountered opposition. In 1809 John Remington was stationed in Trinity. Trinity, being a Methodist station from then on, should have had a register that began at about that time (similar to other Methodist stations, such as Bonavista). Although Trinity was the station location, it was at English Harbour that a long-lasting congregation developed.

There is evidence that a Trinity register at least once existed. In the Bonavista register the following 4 baptisms appear:

  11 Apr 1859    Margaret Jane    d of James & Margaret Beston of English Harbour   born 21 Nov 1858
  13 Apr 1859    Margaret         d of George & Jane Higdon of Salmon Cove          born  7 Nov 1858
  13 Apr 1859    William          s of George & Mary Eastment of English Harbour    born 14 Nov 1858
  13 Apr 1859    Jabez John       s of Philip & Sarah Ivemy of English Harbour      born 27 Nov 1858
Alongside these 4 baptisms is the following note: "To be also entered in the Trinity Register", so clearly a Trinity Register existed as of 1859. But what has since become of this register is not clear.

The Methodist parsonage in Trinity was destroyed by fire around 1916. I do not know what, if any, records were lost in this fire.

In March 2003, the United Church in English Harbour was destroyed by fire. Media reports stated that records were lost, but I'm not sure what records were present.

The United Church Archives in St. John's does not have any records from English Harbour or Trinity, so at this point it appears likely that the earliest records for English Harbour have been lost. I would, however, be very pleased to find out that they either still exist, or else have been copied or photographed by somebody. If you know of any such copies, please contact me.

In the absence of registers from Trinity and/or English Harbour, the next best thing may be the personal journals kept by the various Methodist missionaries to serve Trinity Bay. In letters written by Methodist missionaries, occasionally excerpts from these journals would be included. And occasionally these excerpts would include mention of marriages and burials that were performed by the missionaries. Unfortunately I do not know where the journals of these missionaries are now to be found, assuming that they even still exist.

On occasion, some events were even published in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. I've transcribed a few and while there may be more that I don't know about, I don't expect that such records will be abundant.

As already mentioned, it appears that there were occasional births, etc., of people from English Harbour recorded in other parish records. Some of those that I know about are as follows:

Meanwhile, in an effort to re-create the Methodist parish records from English Harbour, below I intend to list entries that can be attributed to the English Harbour Methodist registers. I will begin with a baptism that was mentioned to me in a 1990 letter from Keith Barnes (who I believe was the Church Warden at the time).

If you have details of other baptisms, marriages, etc., that were performed in English Harbour, please contact me at dapike@mun.ca.


William John Barnes, 27, bachelor, son of John & Mary Barnes
Susan Camil Skiffington, 27, spinster, daughter of William & Sarah Skiffington
16 Dec 1909 at English Harbour
witnesses:  Gilbert Bugden, Hester Pottle

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Last Modified: Saturday, 28-Mar-2009 18:21:19 NDT